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Custom Subscription Boxes: Design and Packaging

By
Joshua Weatherwax
Table of Contents

Succeeding in the subscription box business model requires two things: selling the right types of subscription boxes and making your product stand out.

Standing out means that you need to make sure people remember your subscription box. This can be done through branding your subscription website and the use of custom subscription boxes.

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Keep reading to learn how custom subscription boxes work, what options are available to you, and how to source them.

Subscription Box Design

Sometimes called mailer box design, subscription box design entails all aspects of how your packaging looks. It includes graphical elements on packaging, branding, and even the feel of the package.

Subscription box design plays a major role in establishing your brand and helping you stand out in a crowded online marketplace. It helps create a memorable first impression and it can also help with customer satisfaction and customer retention. If people don't like how your box looks, they may never even open it regardless of how good your subscription box suppliers are.

One of the best ways to get the most out of your packaging is to invest in custom subscription box designs. Understanding this can help you start on the right foot if you're just looking into how to start a subscription box.

Custom Subscription Box Design

Custom subscription boxes are most commonly designed using digital printing. This is similar to the type of printing you do at home but applied directly to your subscription box. It can be as colorful and complex as you like as long as you're willing to pay for it.

There are many benefits to using custom designs on your subscription boxes. It is a low-cost form of marketing that pays dividends. People see the eCommerce packaging in the mail or on another person's porch become interested in your subscription box. It also has a low barrier to entry for small businesses, as many digital printers allow for smaller minimum order quantities (MOQ). You also don't have to pay for special equipment or machinery since it's just printing.

The main drawback of custom box design is that it is an additional cost. You'll have to pay a printer to do the work, and you'll likely also have to pay a graphic designer as well. Luckily, the designer is only a one-time cost. You can also choose to keep your designs as minimal as your logo, cutting out this extra cost.

Subscription Box Packaging

Subscription box packaging plays a big role in the success or failure of your subscription box. Picking the right subscription box packaging starts with the materials. You need to consider not only the types of products in your box but also their size and weight. Most businesses can go with standard eCommerce packaging with some packing material. However, if your products come in non-standard sizes or require additional protection, you'll need to look into custom shipping packages. For example, if you are selling DTC food, you may need packaging that keeps the food safe and temperature controlled.

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Custom Shipping Packages: Boxes For Subscription Boxes

Whether you have uniquely shaped products or you're just looking to stand out, you should source custom shipping boxes.

Choosing custom shipping packaging means you need to find a shipping box supplier who can accommodate your requests at the scale you need. If you sell enough to need bulk shipping, you don't want to buy your supplies from a business with limited product runs or can't offer volume discounts.

When looking for a supplier, the most important thing you should look at is the various sizes and types of boxes available to you.

Subscription Box Sizes

The most common subscription box sizes are 8" x 8" x 4", 10" x 6" x 4", and 9" x 6" x 3". These boxes can be sourced from most shipping suppliers since they are so common. However, there are many other sizes available to your business as well.

Custom Subscription Box Sizes

To determine what size box to use, you should calculate your total cubic volume. That is, how much space your products would take up in a box. This is also how shipping companies will set the rate for your packages.

Lay out your products as they would be in a box, measure them in all dimensions, and then use this formula:

Length x Width x Height / 1728 = Cubic Rate

If you find that your products won't fit in the standard size boxes, your best option is to buy custom subscription boxes.

Luckily, it's easier than ever to find suppliers who can create custom-sized boxes. That means your wildest subscription box ideas can still become a reality. Many large box suppliers allow you to order custom boxes as long as you meet their minimum order quantity.

Subscription Box Packaging Types

The three most common subscription box packages are mailer boxes, shipping boxes, and folding cartons. These boxes are made of cardboard or paper and have various features that may fit your needs.

Mailer boxes are relatively heavy, rigid boxes that are commonly recommended for most eCommerce shipping. They're also very easy to add custom designs too, but they don't come in a wide range of sizes. Shipping boxes are corrugated cardboard made for extra protection. They are heavier and larger than mailers, but are a great option for fragile products. Folding cartons are lightweight paper boxes that can be folded. These are most commonly used as packaging within the larger subscription box and are common with beauty products.

Not all subscription boxes are actually sent in boxes. If your products are light, but not fragile, shipping with poly mailer bags is a great option. These are polyethylene bags that offer a good amount of protection for a low price. You can commonly find these bags utilized by clothing subscription services.

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Pack It Up, Pack It In

The packaging you use to send subscription boxes plays a large role in your success. It needs to be strong enough to support the product, small enough to avoid excess costs, and highlight your brand. If your packaging can do all three, you'll have a leg up on the competition. You'll also want to include a branded packing slip in each box to help the customer and further market your box.

To further improve your chances of success, make sure you invest in a good subscription billing software so you can make money from your custom boxes. If you're a food supplier, BlueCart Subscriptions can handle that for you. It was designed to grow food sales for businesses of all types and sizes. We can even help you get into the dropshipping market.